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Review

Dog Theft: A Case for Tougher Sentencing Legislation

Dogs Trust, 17 Wakley St, London EC1V 7RQ, UK
Animals 2018, 8(5), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8050078
Received: 12 April 2018 / Revised: 18 May 2018 / Accepted: 21 May 2018 / Published: 22 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Companion Animals)
The Sentencing Council (England and Wales) currently considers dogs to be “property”. This means that if someone steals a dog, they may be punished in the same way as someone who steals a non-living object, like a mobile phone or a piece of furniture. This review argues that losing a dog is very different to losing a non-living object, and that many people consider their dog to be a friend or a family member, not just a “possession”. The review concludes that that people who steal dogs should be punished in a way that reflects the emotional harm that can be caused to victims of dog theft.
Dogs, and other companion animals, are currently classed as “property” in theft sentencing legislation for England and Wales. This means that offenders who steal dogs are given similar sentences to those that steal inanimate objects. This review presents the argument that the penalty for dog theft should be more severe than for the theft of non-living property. Evidence of the unique bond between dogs and humans, and discussion of the implications of labelling a living being as mere “property” are used to support this argument. The review concludes that the Sentencing Council’s guidelines should be amended so that offences involving the theft of a companion animal are deemed to be a Category 2 offence or above. The review further proposes that “theft of a companion animal” should be listed in the Sentencing Council’s guidelines as an aggravating factor. View Full-Text
Keywords: law; companion animals; dogs; human-animal bond; ethics law; companion animals; dogs; human-animal bond; ethics
MDPI and ACS Style

Harris, L.K. Dog Theft: A Case for Tougher Sentencing Legislation. Animals 2018, 8, 78. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8050078

AMA Style

Harris LK. Dog Theft: A Case for Tougher Sentencing Legislation. Animals. 2018; 8(5):78. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8050078

Chicago/Turabian Style

Harris, Lauren K. 2018. "Dog Theft: A Case for Tougher Sentencing Legislation" Animals 8, no. 5: 78. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani8050078

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